Companies support EPR to reduce plastic waste

Mars and Unilever are "among companies that have said they would support so-called extended producer responsibility [EPR] rules as part of their broader efforts to reduce plastic waste and use more recycled material in their packaging," according to a Dec. 5, 2020 article in the Wall Street Journal. "Brand owners have long paid toward the cost of managing their packaging waste in parts of Canada and Europe, and more recently have done so in big emerging markets like India. Companies either pay for packaging recycling programs through umbrella organizations or reimburse municipalities directly. Fees are based on the weight of packaging sold, but also account for the cost of recycling items and the resale value of materials. In the U.S., manufacturers pay toward waste management for just a handful of items, such as paint, batteries and mattresses."

Senator Udall and Representative Lowenthal introduced the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act to the U.S. Congress in 2020, which includes packaging EPR and deposit return systems elements, while Oregon, California, Washington, Massachusetts, and New York have similar producer responsibility bills under consideration.